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$10 Eagle

$10 Eagle

Although the $10 "eagle" was the largest gold coin issued under the Mint Act of 1792, it would be over forty years before most citizens would see this "Flagship" denomination. First minted in 1795, Congress' ill-conceived 15 to 1 silver/gold ratio doomed the coins and their smaller brothers to hoarding and melting from the start. The result was inevitable. Eagle production ended in 1804, quarter eagle mintages remained minute, and only half eagles were made in quantity, primarily for transactions between banks. Finally, in an effort to return gold coins to the channels of commerce, Congress passed the Act of 1834, changing the silver/gold ratio to 16 to 1. Almost overnight, U.S. silver coins were worth more than the equivalent amount in gold coins. The eagle was reintroduced in 1838 after a 34-year hiatus. The eagle issued since 1838 was the Christian Gobrecht designed Liberty Head, featuring a neoclassic head of Liberty adorned with a coronet inscribed LIBERTY. Thirteen stars surround the bust, with the date below. The reverse depicts an eagle holding arrows and an olive branch, encircled by the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and TEN D. Chief Engraver James Barton Longacre placed the new motto on a scroll over the eagle's head.

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